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Working With A Mental Performance Consultant

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Considering mental performance consulting? Not exactly sure what that entails? You’re not alone.

Although sport psychology has been around since the late 1800s, it didn’t hit the ground running until the mid 1980s. Now most universities, athletic programs, professional sports organizations, and even the U.S. military have staffed sport psychologists and/or mental performance consultants to help their athletes, coaches, and soldiers perform under pressure. Compared to other independent fields of psychology, sport psychology is relatively new and not yet as commonplace as it could be. Your everyday athlete or coach can articulate why the mental game matters and how it impacts performance, but most still can’t tell you how to effectively train it or what that process looks like.

First, let’s clear up some myths:

Mental Performance Consultants (MPCs) are not licensed mental healthcare professionals (although some can also be! Read FAQ #2 to learn about the differences). Therefore, working on your mental game with an MPC is not therapy, considered therapeutic, or treatment. Rather, MPCs have training and education in sport science and sport psychology with the goal of enhancing athletic performance through strategic psychological skills training.

It’s also not life coaching, advice-giving, or motivational speaking. It is strategic training rooted in research and best practices that runs more similar to strength and conditioning... but for the brain.

Common topics include, but are not limited to:

When you partner with Inside Rival, you can expect a goal-directed, collaborative approach that emphasizes your strengths to construct solutions through precise questioning and guided conversation while using, when appropriate, strategies to accept and adjust behavioral patterns in the context of sport performance.

Inside Rival utilizes a strengths-based and solution-focused brief intervention approach for single-sessions or "one-offs" to alleviate presenting problems. Think the athlete who is suddenly experiencing choking and has a game the next day or a coach who is unsure how to handle tricky team dynamics. Although outcomes aren’t guaranteed, at a minimum: you’ll leave with a sense of emotional relief and increased hope; and at maximum: walk away with specific tasks and/or a new way of approaching an issue. For dedicated year round work (i.e. multiple sessions), we utilize a Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment approach to develop resilience (increase window of tolerance, pursue value-driven actions…) individually or within an organization’s culture. Think the athlete who wants to create a legacy and take it to the next level or a team ready to build championship culture and reach new goals. We accomplish this by:

1. Raising self-awareness;

2. Increasing knowledge base; and,

3. Through application of skill.

Whether it’s 1 on 1 or with a whole team, you can expect psycho-educational lessons, supporting activities or drills, and training/guidance on how to practice what you learn.

Just like muscle gains, mental gains are not accomplished overnight but through consistently showing up for yourself. Our goal is that you walk away better understanding yourself and being able to answer…

  1. What should I do?

  2. When do I do it?

  3. How do I do it?

… in relation to your mental skills. It’s one thing to tell someone to “focus up”, it’s another to teach them how, for example.

As you progress, and performance starts to improve, these skills will require less and less conscious effort because you have established the fundamentals in session and begun refining through targeted exercises. Inside Rival prides itself on fostering the autonomy of athletes, coaches, and entire teams so that overtime, all these reps that you put in, will transition the skill in becoming automatic.

Depending on your needs and goals our time together may be short term, but your engagement in mental skills training will focus on continual practice and detail next steps for your ongoing improvement. You’re never too good to get better.

Email to schedule your no-pressure connect call to determine if you’re ready to improve your game or organization’s culture and if my approach is right for you.

Sign up on the homepage for our newsletter to access free resources from The Mental Toolbox to start working on your mental game now.

In the meantime, visit our social media accounts to learn more:

Instagram: @insiderival

Twitter: @insiderival


New to Mental Performance and Sport Psychology?

Learn about our Head MPC HERE and check out our services HERE


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